•   
  •   
  •   

Crime Fentanyl Operation Could Have Made 2.5M Pills, Authorities Say as Ringleader Sentenced

02:01  01 december  2021
02:01  01 december  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

How Biden could make our growing problem with fentanyl even worse

  How Biden could make our growing problem with fentanyl even worse Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have reached more than 100,000, due to fentanyl and its analogs, but the Biden administration is pushing for a policy that would only make things worse.In September, the Biden administration urged Congress to make permanent a failed Trump-era policy that could further criminalize and endanger those who use drugs: a classwide ban on fentanyl analogs (drugs that are molecularly similar to fentanyl), which is set to expire Jan. 28. Almost two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in the provisional data involved synthetic opioids (including fentanyl and its analogs). That’s 64,178 deaths, compared to about 36,000 in 2019 and about 31,000 in 2018.

A fentanyl operation could have made about 2.5 million pills, authorities said as the ringleader, Bradley Woolard, was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Bradley Woolard and Anthony Pelayo were able to make their fentayl-laced pills look like pharmacy-grade oxycodone through the use of a stamp that marked the pills with a © Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images Bradley Woolard and Anthony Pelayo were able to make their fentayl-laced pills look like pharmacy-grade oxycodone through the use of a stamp that marked the pills with a "M30." In this photo, a bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal is displayed during the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Watts Healthcare on April 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

The amount of potential pills, with the supplies ordered by Woolard's accomplice, Anthony Pelayo, 35, is so extensive that authorities had a sentencing range from around 30 years to life in prison. As it stands, the sentencing is one of the longest federal drugs sentences ever in Western Washington, according to the Associated Press.

Fact check: Kids can send letters to Santa, receive gifts through USPS 'Operation Santa'

  Fact check: Kids can send letters to Santa, receive gifts through USPS 'Operation Santa' Since Nov. 1, children around the country can send their Christmas letters to Santa as part of a program coordinated by the USPS.But some Americans may not be able to afford gifts this year, as was the case in 2020 when nearly one in three reported skipping gift-giving due to COVID-19.

Along with the supplies, there was also $1.1 million discovered throughout the headquarters of Woolard's operation. Over several weeks, federal agents did four searches to completely recover the money, finding it in places like a hole below the dishwasher and beneath the bathroom sink floorboards. Along with the million dollars, agents found a secret room housing over two dozen guns, homemade silencers, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

"It's a lot of money. It's a lot of drugs. It's a tragedy," U.S. District Judge Coughenour said.

The operation started in 2015 when Woolard, 42, and Pelayo ordered fentanyl powder from China. This was when synthetic opioid was beginning to emerge as a cheaper, stronger, and deadlier alternative to heroin. They made the pills look like oxycodone someone could get from a pharmacy with stamps that marked the product "M30."

Pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, Walmart helped fuel opioid epidemic, U.S. jury finds

  Pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, Walmart helped fuel opioid epidemic, U.S. jury finds Pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, Walmart helped fuel opioid epidemic, U.S. jury finds(Reuters) - A federal jury on Tuesday found that pharmacy chain operators CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc helped fuel an opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties, in the first trial the companies have faced over the U.S. drug crisis.

They also purchased pill presses, learning to use them in a workshop at Woolard's home in Arlington, then at Pelayo's nearby property.

"The presses used by Mr. Woolard and Mr. Pelayo were capable of pressing thousands of pills an hour, and Mr. Woolard and Mr. Pelayo pressed so many pills over the course of the conspiracy that they wore out multiple presses," assistant U.S. attorneys Karyn S. Johnson and Mike Lang wrote in a sentencing memo.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Their case offers a look at how the production of counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl or related drugs became a cottage industry across the country in those years. They enlisted a number of other people to receive shipments of fentanyl powder they ordered on the "dark web" using bitcoin or wire transfers; investigators initially didn't know if the different shipments were part of the same conspiracy. Some of the shipments were labeled "lab supplies."

Public nuisance laws in opioid cases give hope to both sides

  Public nuisance laws in opioid cases give hope to both sides CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury's finding this week that three major pharmacy chains are responsible for contributing to the scourge of opioid addiction in two Ohio counties may be just the beginning of a protracted legal battle that ultimately could leave the communities no better off. The reason is the central argument — that pharmacies created a “public nuisance” by dispensing an overwhelming quantity of prescription painkillers into each county. Thousands of state and local governments have sued drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies over a crisis that has contributed to more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades.

Because the pair were manufacturers and wholesalers, agents were unable to link any overdoses to their operation.

But deaths from synthetic opioid overdoses soared in Snohomish County while the conspiracy was active—from eight in 2015, to 13 in 2016, to 26 in 2017 and 58 in 2018, according to data from the Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute at the University of Washington.

The number of people overdosing on fentanyl has only skyrocketed since then, in Snohomish County, Washington state and across the country, with massive amounts of the drug being smuggled in from Mexico in recent years, federal authorities said. Overdose deaths have soared to about 100,000 per year nationally.

Lang told the judge Tuesday that he looked for people ravaged by the pills Woolard sold, some of whom likely did not even realize they were taking fentanyl.

"It's hard to find them," he said. "They don't show up in the courtroom. But they have a voice. There is suffering out there."

A jury convicted Woolard and Pelayo of drug, gun and money laundering charges in August after a two-week trial. A top distributor, Jerome Isham, was also convicted of drug and gun charges. Eight other people were also charged in the case, with several, including Woolard's estranged wife, receiving lighter sentences after cooperating with investigators.

Rep. Katko: Biden 'not doing anything' to stop the flow of drugs coming across border, killing Americans

  Rep. Katko: Biden 'not doing anything' to stop the flow of drugs coming across border, killing Americans Republican New York Rep. John Katko said President Biden is “not doing anything” to stop the flow of drugs coming across the border in a "crisis" he argued the White House created. "One thing cartels know: When the border is secure, it’s much more difficult for them to get the drugs across. When it's not secure, it's a piece of cake for them. And that's what we're seeing now," Katko said on Fox News’ "Sunday Morning Futures." "When the president opened up the border last year and allowed people to flow into this country, it was a boon for the cartels." © (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Mounted U.S.

The U.S. Attorney's Office sought 25 years for Pelayo, of Marysville, who was convicted of an additional gun charge, before Coughenour sentenced him to 15 years last week. Isham got 10 years.

Woolard and Pelayo both have young children. Neither had significant criminal records or had ever been convicted of using violence, though prosecutors said Woolard threatened to kill a cooperating witness.

"They make me sound like Pablo Escobar of Marysville, which is not true," Pelayo told the judge at his sentencing.

While Pelayo indicated in text messages to others that he wouldn't take the pills he helped make because they were too dangerous, Woolard had a long-running pill addiction that began after he broke his ankle in 2001. His habit ran about $1,000 a day by the time he was arrested, he wrote in a letter to the judge.

Woolard spent some of the proceeds of the conspiracy attending spa-like drug treatment resorts in Costa Rica and Mexico at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000 per month.

Bradley Woolard and Anthony Pelayo's drug operation began in 2015 when they purchased fentanyl powder from China in a time where synthetic opioid was becoming a cheaper, stronger, and deadlier alternative to heroin. In this photo, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent weighs a package of Fentanyl at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on October 2, 2019 in San Ysidro, California. Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images © Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images Bradley Woolard and Anthony Pelayo's drug operation began in 2015 when they purchased fentanyl powder from China in a time where synthetic opioid was becoming a cheaper, stronger, and deadlier alternative to heroin. In this photo, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent weighs a package of Fentanyl at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on October 2, 2019 in San Ysidro, California. Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

Related Articles

  • New York City Opening Safe Sites for Narcotics Use After Setting Overdose Record in 2020
  • Washington Seeks $38B From Opioid Distributors After 8,000 Deaths Over 11 Years
  • Man Who Supplied Fentanyl-Laced Pills to Mac Miller's Drug Dealer to Plead Guilty
  • Authorities Seize Enough Synthetic Opiate to Kill 50 Million People in Massive Drug Bust

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

Ex-media CEO sentenced to prison in college admissions scam .
BOSTON (AP) — The former chief executive of a media company who authorities say paid more than $500,000 to get her two children into elite universities as bogus athletic recruits was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment Thursday. Elisabeth Kimmel, 57, of Las Vegas, was the 29th parent to be sentenced in the Operation Varsity Blues nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.Elisabeth Kimmel, 57, of Las Vegas, was the 29th parent to be sentenced in the Operation Varsity Blues nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

usr: 1
This is interesting!